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news

Mayor Rob Ford Admits to Reading While Driving, “Probably”

A picture, posted to Twitter, appears to show the mayor reading a document behind the wheel of his Escalade.

Detail of a photo by Twitter user @ryanghaughton.

Mayor Rob Ford admitted to “probably” reading while driving down the Gardiner Expressway in his new Cadillac Escalade, after a picture of him doing so began circulating on Twitter.

The above picture was posted earlier today on Twitter by user @ryanghaughton, who has apparently since deleted it from his feed. It shows a man who appears to be Mayor Ford behind the wheel of a black Cadillac Escalade identical to the one Ford received recently as a birthday gift from his brothers. The man is reading a printed document of some kind while riding on a highway. A later tweet from Haughton, also now deleted, said that the picture was taken around 10 a.m. today on the Gardiner Expressway while traffic was moving at around 70 kilometres per hour.

The image circulated among city news desks so quickly that by a press conference this morning, where Ford was scheduled to speak about his upcoming “business mission” to Chicago, reporters were primed to confront him about the incident.

The CBC has a transcript of the exchange between Ford and a reporter. It goes like this:

Reporter: “Sir, there’s a picture that went out on Twitter this morning of you reading while still driving on the Gardiner [Expressway].”

Ford: “Yeah, probably. I’m busy.”

Reporter: “So you read while driving?”

Ford: “Yeah, probably, yeah. I’m try[ing] to catch up on my work and you know I keep my eyes on the road, but I’m a busy man.”

Reporter: “You don’t see a problem doing that on the Gardiner?”

Ford: “Well, I’m busy. I got to be — I don’t know what that has to do with a trade mission, but anyways. Ridiculous questions sometimes, seriously.”

This isn’t the first time Ford has been accused of doing something dangerous in his car. There was the time he allegedly gave a woman the middle finger after she and her daughter gave him thumbs down for talking on his cell phone while driving. Also, there was the time he got into a confrontation with a TTC driver after allegedly driving past a streetcar’s open doors.

UPDATE: August 14, 2012, 2:05 PM No, reading while driving is not illegal. But it can be unsafe.

CORRECTION: August 14, 2012, 2:51 PM This post originally misspelled @ryanghaughton’s username.

Comments

  • Ron

    What an idiot. It’s sad.

  • Anonymous

    Next time you might kill someone, Rob.

    • Anonymous

      Swimmin’ with the sharks, his heart bleeds for them, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.

  • Anonymous

    Is this a picture of him doing something illegal? I know if he were on a cell phone it would be.

    • Anonymous

      it’s a picture of him doing something irresponsible, and potentially very dangerous. Does it matter if it’s illegal? The article does not suggest that he be charged for doing this.

      • Anonymous

        I was suggesting he could be charged. I was wrong though. The star interviewed a police constable about it and it’s not illegal:
        http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/cityhallpolitics/article/1241679

        • Anonymous

          I see – my mistake.

          What bugs me most is the “I’m a busy man” defence, like that could possibly be a valid reason to potentially endanger lives. You’re right though, it sounds like the “distracted driving” laws are geared towards electronic devices only.

        • Antinephalist

          It’s not illegal in that you won’t be charged with ‘reading while driving’. But driving without paying due care and attention is illegal.

        • Eric S. Smith

          “The star interviewed a police constable about it and it’s not illegal.”

          How does the saying go — never take legal advice from a cop?

  • Anonymous

    what poor, poor example set by our supposed leader.

  • derek

    Look, the Mayor drives on the gardiner while reading so I guess its okay for us too. ><

  • Scrappy_to
  • http://twitter.com/Groked Grok

    Let’s not forget his DUI conviction in the States. This guy does not take safe driving seriously.

  • Anonymous

    The account/user that posted it was @RyanGHaughton (not @RyanHaughton) and it has since been deleted altogether (the whole account, not just the tweets). Weird!!!

    • Anonymous

      The white pickup the guy who took the picture was traveling in is somewhat clearly reflected on the side of Ford’s escalade, and it appears to be a business/company vehicle judging by the prominent logo. Which could explain the twitter deletions.

      • Anonymous

        Good point, I never even noticed that. I was thinking maybe it was because he didn’t want to give media interviews and wasn’t sure how else to duck all the reporters that were tweeting at him. Your suggestion is more logical though.

  • Anonymous

    Get a chauffeur. Or read the documents on the bus or Subway (but then he doesn’t like taking public transit).

    Will “Twitter” become the next “The Star” for Rob?

  • Dave Cooper

    This is yet another example of the problem with Ford’s approach to government. If the work of the city is so critical that he has to read (or talk on the phone, or pass open streetcar doors, or flip off children) while on the road, then the work of the city requires that he has a driver. His refusal to take advantage of a driver saves the city a relatively small amount of money, what he would term “gravy”, but it would also dramatically reduce the odds that our mayor would injure or kill himself or others, costing far more than a driver’s salary in medical expenses, policing costs, road repairs, etc.

  • http://www.miroslavglavic.ca Miroslav Glavic

    Ryan, were you driving a car AND using a cell phone? you do know that illegal under Provincial law right?

    • Dave Cooper

      The photo looks like it was taken from the passenger seat (no window frame, no upholstery, and you can see the full picture from other sources). Using a cell phone while riding in a car isn’t illegal.

    • http://twitter.com/ConSerToronto Andrew Barrington

      Miroslav you were reading my mind… But of course the users on here got such hatred for the mayor that they over looked it and then when someone points it out they dislike your post

      • Anonymous

        Not surprising, It is a reaction to the disrespect he has shown to the majority of the citizens of Toronto

      • Anonymous

        The mayor was caught on camera endangering the public, and you’re concerned about his reputation?

        Are you angling to be Rob’s next chief of staff?

        Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait long…

  • Anonymous

    Scary that brother Doug is the voice of reason here.

    • Anonymous

      It’s hard not to come off as the voice of reason in comparison to Rob.

  • http://www.facebook.com/savageplay Craig Butcher

    ok so it’s not illegal for Rob, but this lady is being charge for basically the exact same thing not even a week ago

    http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/WeirdNews/2012/08/08/20081761.html

  • http://twitter.com/ConSerToronto Andrew Barrington

    What a scandal… The mayor was reading while driving, oh let me guess what will be next photos of him drinking soda while driving… You guys have become clowns, a circus act of fools looking for something other than policy to complain about since he’s doing well on policy

    • OgtheDim

      Meh……..who cares about policy.

      Is it dangerous for him to be reading while driving?

      Yes or no?

      If you think its fine, kindly go to the nearest shredder and dice and slice your driver’s license cause nobody wants people who think its OK to read like that to be driving on the road.

  • http://www.facebook.com/savageplay Craig Butcher

    ok so it’s not illegal for rob, but this lady is being charged for basically the exact same thing.

    http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/WeirdNews/2012/08/08/20081761.html

  • Antinephalist

    “Reading while driving” is not explicitly illegal. However, a careless driving charged can be laid if you are caught reading while driving by a cop.

  • Jennifer

    This type of behaviour is indefensible, no matter who is doing it, and if this picture is indeed of our mayor reading a newspaper while driving it is absolutely astounding and shows a complete lack of regard for anyone sharing the road with him. Road and traffic conditions can change in an instant and if you have a document in front of your face there is no way that you can be driving responsibly. What a moron.

  • Anonymous

    The idea that he is not committing the offence of “careless driving”, or that an accident is a precondition to this charge, is so ridiculously preposterous that I am enraged at the quoted police interpretation of this.

    This is a *textbook* case of careless driving. An accident is not a condition precedent to a charge, is only what usually brings the driving to the attention of the police. This is like saying you need to draw blood to get a high sticking penalty in hockey. The accident is simply *evidence* that the type of driving was careless.

    On top of this being another instance of the police covering Ford’s ample ass, this sets a terrible example – tomorrow’s Gardiner will be full of drivers reading, thinking that all they need to do to avoid a ticket is not crash.

    • Anonymous

      Pending budget discussions…

  • Anonymous

    Toronto elected an uneducated dimwit to be Mayor. This is not exactly news. However, I support reporting on these kinds of stories because nothing less than a jackhammer of repeated stupid actions will ever get through the thick skulls of those who voted for this faux-conservative.

    • Anonymous

      Good chance that very soon a poster will insist “Toronto did not elect Rob Ford”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Neville-Ross/100002343524258 Neville Ross

      Said thick-skulked people should be banned from voting EVER AGAIN until they understand what life in the 21st century is like; they should also be forced to take study vacations of Europe and Scandinavia to see how effective countries do things, and how the people who live in the vote, live and understand things.

  • Anonymous

    Can he be deported for that?

  • PEPPINO GOTTI

    HEY MORON. HOW THE F@#K DID YOU TAKE THE PICTURE ??????

    I GUESS YOUR DRIVER WAS DRIVING YOU, WHILE YOU TOOK THE PICTURE.

    IF YOU WOULD WORRY ABOUT YOUR OWN LIFE, INSTEAD OF WHAT ROB FORD IS DOING, WE WOULD BE IN A MUCH BETTER CITY.

    • OgtheDim

      “IF YOU WOULD WORRY ABOUT YOUR OWN LIFE…”

      So why are you here?

    • dr.fever

      Hey Chad Kroeger, stop yelling at everybody.

  • Anonymous

    Dunno what “safety” and “while driving” have to do with it, but Mayor Ford’s base isn’t gonna approve of this “reading” stuff.